What is a thinking person’s beer?

4 12 2009

Beer, simply put, is an alcoholic beverage. But it is so much more than that! It is an alchemy of herbs, grain, water, and science! It is an art form that speaks to the basic spiritual aspects of the soul as well as the heady, intellectual aspects of our experience. It can be complex and simple all at once. It can amuse and delight. It can improve our food and company. It can challenge us. Beer is amazing!

Alex at the Delirium Bar

Alex with the Beer Bible in Brussles

Many of us had our first experiences with beer as younger people. It might have been a foamy, yellow thing from a warm tap out of a plastic cup. Or it might have been from sneaking a bottle or can from a relative. But now we are adults! We can choose what we want to drink. We choose the setting and the company. We want our beer to enhance our experiences rather than dull them.

This is what I want to talk about with this blog. I want us to talk about why we drink beer and what we like to drink. I want us to share recommendations and to ask questions. I want us to join together as a community of beer drinkers and have a conversation about beer.

I also want this to be a space to share tasting notes on what I have been drinking lately. As a waiter at the Brickskeller, I often get customers asking me “what’s good here” or “what do you recommend?” And while there are sites like ratebeer.com, I want a place where people can see and discuss beer together. I want it to be more than just tasting notes, I want a conversation.

In short, a thinking person’s beer is one that builds community. One where we can sit, and talk, and laugh or cry. Where we can learn about ourselves and each other with beer as the catalyst. A thinking person’s beer is not one we gulp six a time in order to get hammered, or wasted, or any number of painful sounding imagery. A thinking person’s beer upholds life! A thinking person’s beer is one that brings us together.

So what is on your mind? Drink any good beers lately? Anything you are dying to try? What do you want to know about beer?

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5 responses

4 12 2009
Robin Darling

I love it, Alex. I am excited to be part of a discussion on beer. It is something I love.

Last night, I enjoyed some of the Rogue Christmas Ale. It was hearty and dark, but not bitter. It definitely evokes that warmth of the season.

5 12 2009
Beth W.

Thanks for idea. I really like a dark beer. Tonight I am going to work on finding out why I like my beer dark vs light in color.

5 12 2009
Johnny Automatic

It could be as simple as liking dark bread over white bread. You probably enjoy the flavors that are more likely to be in dark beer. Beer is kind of like fermented bread and they share a lot of similarities – except you don’t generally put hops in your bread. When I think of dark beer flavors I think of a lot of “dark” flavors – coffee, chocolate,molasses,honey,malt,etc.

4 12 2009
Beth W.

I am excited about this blog. I am a member of the Flying Saucer in Nashville TN. What does it mean to be a member of the Flying Saucer of Nashville? It means I paid some money, not too much, but enough and got a t-shirt that says “Beer Nerd” and a little plastic card. When I go to the Saucer I swip the little plastic card in a machine and the machine tells me all the beers the pub has avaiable. The goal is to go to the Saucer and drink enough beers to have them put a plate on the wall with your name. How many beers are enough? I don’t remember. But what I do remember is the 17 beers have drunk so far is not enough. So tomorrow, I go off to the Flying Saucer to drink two more beers to add to the 17, but once again the ugly question rears it’s head – What to order? I am hoping this blog will help with that question. Maybe some day, I will go into the Saucer already knowing what to order instead of having to ask the “Beer Goddess” in the little plaid skirt and the knee high socks.

5 12 2009
Johnny Automatic

Well let me tell you about my good great fortune of late. I was in the right place at the right time. There I was having a sandwich and a beer at Hollingshead’s Deli in Orange. Now Hollishead’s has been one of the early supporters of craft beer and has a huge selection with many hard to find things.

Well, my old friend Kenny Hollingshead asks his son Michael if I should get a taste. Michael says no. Kenny says yes. He comes back with a small snifter with a rich amber liquid in it. Then he shows me the bottle. It’s the 2009 Samuel Adams Utopias. Wow!

Now I’ve had a number of the high alcohol brews in the past starting with EKU 28. Most of them only have the high alcohol and a freakish nature to recommend them. Malted grains start to get really winey as the alcohol climbs and some odd fruity flavors come out.

The Utopias had none of this. It reminded me more of a fine liqueur or a well aged sherry. The balance is sublime. It is such a round, unified, mouth-filling experience. Like many of the great alcoholic beverages I’ve had, one can hardly get past the nose. You can just inhale this stuff and feel satisfied. As I said, the taste does not disappoint. Full, rich, and polished like a jewel. It was an amazing experience and almost separate from the whole conversion of beer. It really stands alone as a unique concoction.

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